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Stags Head for the Hills!
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The sika stags participating in the radio tracking study have certainly covered some ground in the past month! One stag who travelled 14 km last year has repeated this journey to rut in the exact same gully while two other mature stags collared in 2010 have moved 4 km and 7 km to neighbouring beech forest.

Just when it seemed all of the stags were going to match last year’s behaviour we found two that had remained on Poronui late into April. One, a large 8 point trophy was shot by a Poronui client. In this case the faded collar was totally invisible in the thick mane on a misty Poronui morning. The other stag was photographed in rutting condition still on the property (see photo – note he has somehow managed to turn the collar upside down!).

The young stags were content to stay on the property – apart from one who wandered 12.7 km to Te Matai in search of females and probably getting a series of beatings for his troubles! To make this story even more amazing he was seen by James Blyth from Tauranga who watched the collared stag for 10 minutes before letting it walk away without shooting. Well done James, thanks for making this big call.

What is the study showing us so far? Well most of the behaviour seems to be consistent with mature stags spending summer on Poronui and then tending to rut off the property. Young stags on the other hand tend to stay on Poronui. BUT just to be different a small number of stags buck this trend or change behaviour from one year to the rest. The more we find out the more questions we face!

Great work Cam, now it will be interesting to see how many stags make it back after the rut!



Sika Stag Study Update, 2 December 2010
The radio collared sika stags are certainly creatures of habit! Cam quickly located all 12 collared stags on Sunday. He commented that the consistent use of traditional summer sites is a feature of the recent data. All of the stags monitored in 2009 are back in the same places this year. In fact they are within 100 metres of the locations they were tracked 12 months ago which is staggering!

A newly collared spiker is still living with his mum in a family group of four, although this could well change once this year’s fawn hits the deck! All of the animals seen were in great condition as they enjoy the benefits of spring growth.

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